10 Totally Indian Things That Will Make Foreigners Go “WTF”!


by Niharika Nayak

India is a country known for its unique and sometimes weird beliefs, traditions, and habits. When people from other countries stop by to pay a visit, they may consider our customs exotic and strange. There are some things we do out of habit, and some of these are hard to kick. There are some things that Indians cannot live without, like having a source of water in the toilet. In foreign countries, especially in the West, this is not the case, and they prefer using toilet paper. Just as we have to adapt to foreign countries when we study/work abroad, they too have to adapt to our cultures. So here is a list of ten things that Indians do that astonish foreigners:

1. Touching The Feet Of Elders

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Surely this tradition just looks bizarre to some people. They may wonder why we do this even when there are strangers involved. But according to Indian customs, touching the feet of elders is an important thing to do as it is a way of showing respect. While it may be bizarre to some, the reality is that it is an integral part of our culture.

2. Referring To All Elders As “Aunty” Or “Uncle”

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We do not refer to them as aunt and uncle for fun. This is also done as a sign of paying respect to those older than you and not calling them by their first or last name. In India, even when people are in conversation with their bosses, we prefer using the word “Sir/Ma’am” to address them.

3. Toilet Showers

Toilet Showers

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Blessed be thy toilet shower. Toilet showers, or “hygienic showers” as they are commonly known, are vital in every modern Indian’s household. We cannot comprehend the fact that so many foreigners consider it hygienic to wipe themselves with papers after finishing their business. Even if someone doesn’t have a toilet shower, they will most definitely have a bucket, mug, and functional tap in their washroom.

4. Random Dance Numbers In Bollywood Films

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Random dance numbers have become such an integrated part of Bollywood films that when we watch Hollywood or other international movies, we often wonder when the dance numbers in the movie will come up! It’s almost hilarious when you watch your foreign friends exclaim when they see a random dance number in one of the films.

5. Eating With Our Hands

Eating With Our Hands

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Eating with our hands has become such a significant way in which we eat our favorite foods. This is especially the case when we visit villages or celebrate festivals. In many parts of South India, food is served on a banana leaf, and you are expected to eat the meal by hand. Many Indians believe that the food tastes better when eaten by hand.

6. Elaborate Wedding Rituals

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In India, unless you have a court marriage, wedding rituals last for days and sometimes even weeks! Foreigners will be surprised to know that the wedding and engagement aren’t the only parts of a celebrated wedding union. “Sangeet. What’s that”?, they may ask, and then you will have to get them up to date with the traditions.

7. India’s “Fusion Chinese” Food

India’s “Fusion Chinese” Food

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On the streets of Indian cities, Chinese food is not Chinese. It is, in fact, a strange but unique fusion of Indian and Chinese foods and is often called “Indo-Chinese” food or “fusion Chinese” food. You will get veg hakka noodles with paneer and many other interesting delights at these stalls that may shock foreigners.

8. The “Indian Head” Bob

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We often end up bobbing our head up and down to indicate yes or side to side to indicate no. This would seem strange to a foreigner as they are not used to people using gestures instead of words to indicate essential statements. They might look at you quizzically if you bob your head up and down to say yes to their request for ice cream.

9. Hindi “Saas” Bahu TV Serials

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So much drama, so many camera angles, and so much unnecessary loud music! There isn’t a single millennial who has not had a bad experience with watching Hindi TV serials. Foreigners may consider this kind of television comical and judge us for indulging in this. However, for those who watch these kinds of serials, it is a guilty pleasure, and if it makes them happy, good for them. Who are we to judge, after all?

10. Everyone’s Obsession With Sour Candy

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“Khatta-meetha” is a uniquely Indian word and describes the love Indians have for sour food items. This is why pani puri and other chaats are considered super delicious and popular. Nimbu pani is a standard summery drink that every Indian child enjoys. There are many manufacturers who’ve kept Indian taste buds in mind and created sour candies, and reaped the market for it. Various flavors like imli, kaccha mango, lemon, and much more are available on the market.

No matter how weird our customs may seem to the rest of the world, we, as Indians, are proud of our culture and beliefs! India is the only country globally with so many spoken official languages and has numerous people flocking to it. Do let us know all of your thoughts on this article in the comment section below!

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Niharika Nayak

Niharika has a passion for all things art, music and travel. During her spare time she likes experimenting in the kitchen, painting pop culture icons and chasing after random street cats. Her dream is to one day own an amusement park so she can ride roller coasters for free.
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